The most recommended health books

Who picked these books? Meet our 149 experts.

149 authors created a book list connected to health, and here are their favorite health books.
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Book cover of Secrets of Women: Gender, Generation, and the Origins of Human Dissection

Celeste McNamara Author Of The Bishop's Burden: Reforming the Catholic Church in Early Modern Italy

From my list on Renaissance Italy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I teach medieval and early modern European history at Dublin City University, with a particular interest in 16th-18th century Italian history. My own research focuses on the religious, legal, and popular culture of northern Italy, particularly Venice and the Veneto region. I became fascinated with Renaissance Italian history as an undergraduate at the College of William and Mary, and then went on to do a masters and a PhD at Northwestern University. I have taught at Northwestern, the College of William and Mary, the University of Warwick/Warwick in Venice, and the State University of New York at Cortland.

Celeste's book list on Renaissance Italy

Celeste McNamara Why did Celeste love this book?

In spite of the impressive intellectual and scientific achievements of the Renaissance era, doctors and anatomists still had a very limited understanding of “women’s secrets,” that is, how the female body functioned. This era saw an increasing number of human dissections for medical study, but the vast majority of medical specimens were male, leading to an imbalance of knowledge.

In this captivating book, Park focuses on dissections of female bodies and the development of knowledge about the titular “secrets of women.” By expanding her study beyond university dissections to include those done in religious and domestic settings, she finds not only dissections of women’s bodies, but also dissections performed by women. The argument and analysis are sharp and incisive, it expands our understanding of early modern medicine, and the case studies of individual dissections are fascinating.

By Katherine Park,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Secrets of Women as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Toward the end of the Middle Ages, medical writers and philosophers began to devote increasing attention to what they called “women’s secrets,” by which they meant female sexuality and generation. At the same time, Italian physicians and surgeons began to open human bodies in order to study their functions and the illnesses that afflicted them, culminating in the great illustrated anatomical treatise of Andreas Vesalius, in 1543.

Katharine Park traces these two closely related developments through a series of case studies of women whose bodies were dissected after their deaths: an abbess, a lactating virgin, several patrician wives and mothers,…


Book cover of Better Sex Through Mindfulness: How Women Can Cultivate Desire

Laurie Mintz Author Of Becoming Cliterate: Why Orgasm Equality Matters--And How to Get It

From my list on improving your sex life.

Why am I passionate about this?

Before children, I had a robust sex drive. When my second daughter was born, poof—it disappeared. Upon asking, I discovered that my friends were also struggling. I immersed myself in the research literature and found solutions—yet was dismayed that this information wasn’t readily available to women. So, I translated the scientific literature into an accessible self-help book. My passion was ignited. I immersed myself in sex education and therapy, publishing my second book based on the experiences of students in a university-level human sexuality course I teach. I find deep meaning translating sexual science for the lay public and helping people gain knowledge and comfort with sex.

Laurie's book list on improving your sex life

Laurie Mintz Why did Laurie love this book?

Mindfulness is a powerful practice, proven to decrease stress and help us live more in the present moment. Acclaimed psychologist and researcher Dr. Lori Brotto is the brilliant pioneer to apply mindfulness to sexuality.

Dr. Brotto had been using mindfulness with great success to help her patients and she thus wrote a book to spread the word more broadly. In this book, she explains the reasons people have sexual problems and provides easy, effective exercises to help them. And, even if a reader doesn’t have a sexual problem, mindfulness can simply enhance sexual pleasure and satisfaction.

I have recommended this book to countless clients and students. I meditate each morning and practice mindfulness myself, inside and outside of the bedroom, and I’ve learned a lot from Dr. Brotto’s work.

By Lori A. Brotto,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Better Sex Through Mindfulness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

AS SEEN IN "THE PRINCIPLES OF PLEASURE" ON NETFLIX

ALSO FEATURED IN BUSTLE * DAN SAVAGE LOVECAST * JEZEBEL * NEW YORK TIMES

Find out how mindfulness is the key to cultivating desire, increasing sexual pleasure, and finding joy in intimacy.

Studies show that approximately half of all women experience some kind of sexual difficulty at one point in their lives, with lack of interest in sex being by far the most common and the most distressing. And when sex suffers, so do all other areas of life.

But it doesn't have to be that way. In Better Sex through…


Book cover of Younger Next Year: Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy Until You're 80 and Beyond

Ed Zinkiewicz Author Of Retire to Play and Purpose: How to have an amazing time going forward

From my list on taking your retirement to a new level.

Why am I passionate about this?

Some retirement choices start out as great adventures but stall. The RV loses its sheen or the cruises begin to look alike. Some retirees actually finish the infamous to-do list or tire of golf. Some people avoid retiring because they’ve heard of those failures! My goal is to help people find meaning and purpose in the activities they undertake in retirement and avoid any pitfalls. The books I’ve chosen here have helped give me a great platform to work from. I’ve discovered that if you can be curious, reach out in empathy, and be determined to keep at the search for joy and meaning, you’ll find that retirement adventure of play and purpose.

Ed's book list on taking your retirement to a new level

Ed Zinkiewicz Why did Ed love this book?

I was a professional couch-potato. I grew up with a clear choice: Use my head or use my feet. I ignored activity in my pursuit of more cerebral choices.

Despite the urgings of my loving family, the advice of others, and by-pass surgery, I continued my sedentary ways. It was only when I held my new grandson that I began to assess who I wanted to be as a role model.

Chris Crowley and Henry Lodge got me up off the couch and into activity. I have a better life because of their encouragement and detailed plans. 

You don’t have to be sedentary like me to appreciate this book. Turns out that you should do more as you run pel-mell into your senior years. Chris and Henry show you how you can step up your game.

By Christopher Crowley, Henry S. Lodge,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Younger Next Year as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Announcing the paperback edition of Younger Next Year, the New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly bestseller, co-written by one of the country’s most prominent internists, Dr. Henry "Harry" Lodge, and his star patient, the 73-year-old Chris Crowley. These are the books that show us how to turn back our biological clocks—how to put off 70% of the normal problems of aging (weakness, sore joints, bad balance) and eliminate 50% of serious illness and injury.

The key to the program is found in Harry's Rules: Exercise six days a week. Don't eat crap. Connect and commit…


Free Your Joy: The Twelve Keys to Sustainable Happiness

By Lisa McCourt,

Book cover of Free Your Joy: The Twelve Keys to Sustainable Happiness

Lisa McCourt Author Of Free Your Joy: The Twelve Keys to Sustainable Happiness

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I wasn’t always a joyful person. But today I’m freaking sunshine, and full-out committed to being an effective member of the team that’s elevating the level of love and joy in the world! My positions on that team have included writing dozens of mega-selling books (my own, and as a ghostwriter), founding my online Joy School at LisaMcCourt.com, hosting my Do Joy! podcast, and collaborating on projects with many other popular teachers of consciousness and joyful living. My books have sold over 9 million copies, earned 7 publishing industry awards, and garnered over 9,000 glowing Amazon reviews. Joy is my jam. I know a joyful book when I read one! 

Lisa's book list on igniting joy despite all the crap in your life

What is my book about?

We all want peace. We all want a life of joy and meaning. We want to feel blissfully comfortable in our own skin, moving through the world with grace and ease. But how many of us are actively taking the steps to create such a life? 

In Free Your Joy, millions-selling author and podcaster Lisa McCourt takes readers through the life-altering principles of vibration elevation that she has taught for 20 years through her online Joy School, sharing her unique formula for raising your “joy setpoint” to cultivate authentic, lasting peace and fulfillment in your daily life. Joy is…

Free Your Joy: The Twelve Keys to Sustainable Happiness

By Lisa McCourt,

What is this book about?

Bestselling author and creator of Joy School Lisa McCourt outlines her unique formula for sustainable happiness, offering a year's worth of activities, prompts, and techniques that raise your "joy setpoint" so you can cultivate authentic, lasting peace and fulfillment in your daily life.

Unprecedented global events have left many of us feeling depleted, depressed, isolated, and disconnected from many of the things that made us happy. Lisa McCourt, host of the Do Joy! podcast and founder of Joy School, helps people raise their joy setpoints regardless of what is happening around them.

Learning about joy is one thing, but it's…


Book cover of The Comfort Crisis: Embrace Discomfort To Reclaim Your Wild, Happy, Healthy Self

Lauren Cook Author Of Generation Anxiety: A Millennial and Gen Z Guide to Staying Afloat in an Uncertain World

From my list on how to cope and live with anxiety.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve lived with anxiety for most of my life. Whether it’s been with emetophobia (a phobia of vomit) or an intense bout of panic attacks, I know the story well. Now, as a psychologist, I’ve seen up close what works and what doesn’t. I love helping my clients and the audiences that I work with learn how to accept their anxiety, rather than try to make it go away. This is often counterintuitive at first but we can still live an empowered life, even with the anxiety present. When we do this, we’ve unlocked a whole new level of liberation where we can show up fully, worries and all. 

Lauren's book list on how to cope and live with anxiety

Lauren Cook Why did Lauren love this book?

This book seriously changed my life. Easter makes an incredible case for how we’ve gotten way too comfortable and how this is contributing to our overall anxiety.

My favorite part of the book highlights the Japanese concept of “misogi,” where we challenge ourselves to reach our mental and physical peak once a year. When I read this, it inspired me so much that I decided to run my first half marathon. This book will get you stretching yourself in exciting ways and it reminds you that your body and brain are way more capable than you’re giving yourself credit.

By Michael Easter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Comfort Crisis as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“If you’ve been looking for something different to level up your health, fitness, and personal growth, this is it.”—Melissa Urban, Whole30 CEO and New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Boundaries

“Michael Easter’s genius is that he puts data around the edges of what we intuitively believe. His work has inspired many to change their lives for the better.”—Dr. Peter Attia, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Outlive

Discover the evolutionary mind and body benefits of living at the edges of your comfort zone and reconnecting with the wild—from the author of Scarcity Brain, coming in September!…


Book cover of Germy Science: The Sick Truth about Getting Sick (and Staying Healthy)

Bethany Barton Author Of I'm Trying to Love Germs

From my list on children’s books about germs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a confession: I became an award-winning science communicator for kids sort of by accident. Well, the science part wasn’t an accident… I just didn’t know what I was doing had a name: science communication. I only knew that I had questions! So I set out to approach my questions with facts, humor, empathy, and critical thinking; to interview professionals-in-the-field and to share what I learned from them with kids. For my germs book (I’m Trying To Love Germs), I spoke with professionals in the fields of virology, epidemiology, microbiology, and medicine, and read every kids' germ book I could get my hands on.

Bethany's book list on children’s books about germs

Bethany Barton Why did Bethany love this book?

Germy Science calls itself “A Gross Science Book” and the icky, phlemy, booger & fart-filled illustrations do not disappoint!

The book does a really great job of giving a well-paced (and hilariously illustrated) history of our human understanding of microbes and medicine: from Ancient Greeks blaming the gods, to our first ventures into hand-washing and pasteurization. Early attempts at inoculation provide lots of gross examples, including 1600s China using ground-up smallpox scabs… eww… but also—wow!

The book even makes a thoughtful  mention of Covid-19 in the section about plagues and pandemics—which is wisely titled “Germs That Changed History”.

By Edward Kay, Mike Shiell (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Germy Science as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

This perfectly revolting — and perfectly timely! — introduction to germs from award-winning comedy writer Edward Kay will turn any kid into a master of microbes!

Children get up close and personal with germs (ew!) in this entertaining, thoroughly researched exploration of the science and history of these tiny, ubiquitous creatures. Heavy on the gross factor to keep readers engaged, the book covers what germs are, how we get sick, how the human immune system works and the best ways to stay healthy. There are intriguing stories about early attempts to fight disease (heard about corpse catapults? how about shaved…


Book cover of Parental Mental Health: Factoring in Fathers

Shoshana S. Bennett Ph.D. Author Of Postpartum Depression for Dummies

From my list on for dads and dads-to-be.

Why am I passionate about this?

After life-threatening postpartum depression in the 1980s, I became a pioneer of maternal mental health in the U.S. I’ve helped moms and moms-to-be finally receive the support they deserve. Between masters’ degrees, Ph.D., teaching credentials, and becoming licensed as a clinical psychologist, I wrote four books and enjoy interviews on radio and TV. Training health professionals and my clients to develop a wellness strategy for motherhood has been my life’s passion. A few years ago I realized that during this movement, dads’ experiences had been disregarded and minimized, and my mission then shifted to parental mental health. Dad’s worries and needs are important too.

Shoshana's book list on for dads and dads-to-be

Shoshana S. Bennett Ph.D. Why did Shoshana love this book?

This is an honest and very direct look at how our society should include men in the discussion of becoming new parents and illustrates many examples of how men have been left out until now. Dads’ mental health is considered carefully which is very important to my mission. This small yet excellent book offers a gender-equitable, whole family viewpoint of parental mental health and increases awareness about best practices in the care of fathers and fathers-to-be.  

By Jane I. Honikman, Daniel B. Singley,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Parental Mental Health as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The purpose of this book is to include men in the discussion about early parenthood, to foster a gender-equitable, whole family approach to parental mental health, and to increase awareness about best practices in the care for expectant and new fathers.


Book cover of Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey Into the Afterlife

Star Bradbury Author Of Successfully Navigating Your Parents' Senior Years: Critical Information to Maximize Their Independence and Make Sure They Get the Care They Need

From my list on helping you or your loved ones age successfully.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have worked in senior living for over 25 years. I was the administrative director of both an assisted living facility as well as a memory care facility and then I worked for over 18 years in one of the top national Life Care Communities in the country. During this time, I helped thousands of families navigate the complex and confusing world of senior living. I wrote my book to help families make educated and informed decisions and know what they could do before a crisis! It is not if your parents will need help, it is when! I am passionate about passing on the knowledge of my years in this field. 

Star's book list on helping you or your loved ones age successfully

Star Bradbury Why did Star love this book?

Written by a neurosurgeon who had absolutely no faith or belief in an afterlife, he made an about face after a life-threatening coma and a near-death experience.

This book is his own personal story and truly, it is both inspiring and life changing for the reader. His views on the purpose of life after this experience is so uplifting! 

By Eben Alexander,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Proof of Heaven as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Internationally acclaimed neurosurgeon Dr Eben Alexander always considered himself a man of science. His unwavering belief in evidence-based medicine fuelled a career in the top medical institutions of the world. But all this was set to change. One morning in 2008 he fell into a coma after suffering a rare form of bacterial meningitis. Scans of his brain revealed massive damage. Death was deemed the most likely outcome. As his family prepared themselves for the worst, something miraculous happened. Dr Alexander's brain went from near total inactivity to awakening. He made a full recovery but he was never the same.…


Book cover of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed

Tammi Miller Author Of Paperback Therapy: Therapist-approved tools and advice for mastering your mental health

From my list on books to know yourself better.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m passionate about connecting with people through therapy and helping them to better understand themselves. There’s no better way to do that than through reading. I’ve always been interested in the human condition, reading psychology magazines and books about love, mental health, and self-identity from a young age. They helped me to navigate tougher times when I was experiencing my own adversity. I believe in the power of health literacy, and with lived experience in mental health as both a psychotherapist and a client, I manage my own mental health using the same techniques I share with readers in my book and those found through reading books such as these.

Tammi's book list on books to know yourself better

Tammi Miller Why did Tammi love this book?

I believe one of the best ways to get to know yourself is by learning about other people’s similar experiences – after all, we can’t be it if we can’t see it.

That’s why I love Maybe You Should Talk To Someone; it explores how different people can better understand themselves through the lens of the therapist, who is also going through her own adversities.

I saw myself in this book as both a therapist and a client. An easy read that blurs fiction and nonfiction, I recommend it to anyone who might not like dense academic reads but is looking to understand how therapy works and their mental health.

By Lori Gottlieb,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Maybe You Should Talk to Someone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A TIME magazine Must-Read Book of the Year

Ever wonder what your therapist is thinking? Now you can find out, as therapist and New York Times bestselling author Lori Gottlieb takes us behind the scenes of her practice - where her patients are looking for answers (and so is she).

When a personal crisis causes her world to come crashing down, Lori Gottlieb - an experienced therapist with a thriving practice in Los Angeles - is suddenly adrift. Enter Wendell, himself a veteran therapist with an unconventional style, whose sessions with Gottlieb will prove transformative for her.

As Gottlieb explores…


Book cover of Developing Your Conflict Competence: A Hands-On Guide for Leaders, Managers, Facilitators, and Teams

Wanda T. Wallace Author Of You Can't Know It All: Leading in the Age of Deep Expertise

From my list on getting out of your comfort zone.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am passionate about helping people have the kinds of opportunities they want to have in their careers. I coach, teach, speak and write on how to do exactly that. The secret – it almost always involves getting out of your comfort zone, doing something that is a bit scary to you and that shakes your confidence a bit. However, you never want to be sitting alone trying to achieve something all by yourself. It takes a village to succeed. The art comes in knowing how to ask, getting over your fear of being vulnerable, building trust, knowing how to persuade each person you need, and much more. This is my life’s work. 

Wanda's book list on getting out of your comfort zone

Wanda T. Wallace Why did Wanda love this book?

To do more and to lead a team of experts, conflict is necessary to get a great outcome. Some people are comfortable with conflict, some are not. Either way, as a leader, you need a toolkit on what to do and not to do to de-escalate tension and develop healthy debate. This book is the best toolkit I know. 

By Craig E. Runde, Tim A. Flanagan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Developing Your Conflict Competence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A practical resource, this book combines tips, checklists, exercises, and stories to outline concrete processes that improve the way leaders, managers, and anyone within an organization responds to conflict. Beginning with a series of questions and self-diagnostics, the authors show you how to: maintain emotional balance in the face of conflict; implement constructive communications techniques; help others deal with conflicts that are causing organization problems; establish norms for handling conflict; use specific approaches for addressing conflict more effectively. "A must-have guidebook for the new age of global business. This book shows every leader how to turn feelings of fear into…


Book cover of Seizing the Means of Reproduction: Entanglements of Feminism, Health, and Technoscience

Sydney Calkin Author Of Abortion Pills Go Global: Reproductive Freedom across Borders

From my list on abortion and reproductive rights.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a feminist academic and activist, I am personally committed to the cause of reproductive freedom. Professionally, I've spent the past seven years carrying out research on abortion pills and their travels around the globe. This research involved more than eighty interviews with activists and doctors across the world, as well as analysis of many different text sources. My work has also taken me into activist spaces across Europe, as a volunteer with the Abortion Support Network. Although I entered the topic of reproductive rights through my interest in abortion, reading widely in the field has led me to pursue research interests in reproductive and biomedical technologies in other areas of sexual and reproductive health. 

Sydney's book list on abortion and reproductive rights

Sydney Calkin Why did Sydney love this book?

Today, struggles for abortion access are usually focused on legislatures and courts. These can seem like the only avenues for achieving change.

Yet Seizing the Means of Reproduction gives us an alternative picture of reproductive health and abortion politics, by exploring the history of the women’s health movement in the USA during the 1970s and 1980s.

Activists in this movement saw doctors and hospitals as powerful male-dominated institutions that exerted too much power over women’s bodies. In response, the activists developed new models for practicing reproductive health to give people power over their own bodies and reproductive activities. Self-managed abortion was one important part of their work, and Murphy’s book explores this history in lively detail.

The activists in Murphy’s narrative built their own self-help groups and resources outside of mainstream medical institutions, deliberately, because they saw this as the pathway for achieving women’s emancipation.

By Michelle Murphy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Seizing the Means of Reproduction as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Seizing the Means of Reproduction, Michelle Murphy's initial focus on the alternative health practices developed by radical feminists in the United States during the 1970s and 1980s opens into a sophisticated analysis of the transnational entanglements of American empire, population control, neoliberalism, and late-twentieth-century feminisms. Murphy concentrates on the technoscientific means-the technologies, practices, protocols, and processes-developed by feminist health activists. She argues that by politicizing the technical details of reproductive health, alternative feminist practices aimed at empowering women were also integral to late-twentieth-century biopolitics.

Murphy traces the transnational circulation of cheap, do-it-yourself health interventions, highlighting the uneasy links between…